The Road- Cormac McCarthy
In the novel The Road, the author, Cormac McCarthy, presents a pessimistic and dark view of humanity and its future. His dark words tell of foggy woods late at night and of deserted houses with haunted facades, summoning from the depths of the reader’s mind a world full of childhood nightmares, of monsters under beds, bogeymen in closets, and graveyards late at night. Despite all this, McCarthy does also incorporate slight glimmers of hope throughout the novel. Through his characters’ belief in themselves, and through their belief in ‘the fire’ that they carry, the reader is emboldened to join the characters’ desperate struggle on their never ending journey. It is this fire that keeps the man and the boy pushing forward on their interminable journey south. It is what the man uses to encourage the boy when there is no more food or clean water left. From the very start of the novel, mental images are given of a world that is decaying and broken, almost unfixable. The author paints pictures of bleak landscapes coated with ash and marked by fire, and bleaker still portraits of the dead, such as ‘Inside the barn three bodies hanging from the rafters, dried and dusty among the wan slats of light’. The author’s humble words awaken the reader’s imagination, the simplicity of the descriptive language adding to each sentences’ effectiveness, and helping the reader to visualize the events and the setting in the way McCarthy envisioned it. Two incidents in the novel which stick in the reader’s mind are the humans in the cellar and the baby on the spit. These two references are the epitome of all that is evil and grim, previously mentioned in the novel. There are no traces of compassion or empathy for the people in the ‘pantry’ from those who will later cook and devour them, unblinking, as if they are cattle. There is no concern shown by the mother, for the mere infant that is butchered, skewered and barbecued. Likewise, early in the book,...
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